plus-size-hayley-morley.jpgThe German women’s magazine “Brigitte” announced a “no model campaign” last month, saying they will no longer be using professional models for their magazine photos. And, Brigitte is not the first to undertake such a campaign.

Whether it be front cover, features, or articles on fitness and make-up, beginning January 2nd, 2010, the editors of “Brigitte” have decided to use “normal” and “real” women, instead of the anorexic-like models currently featured in the media and found on catwalks and magazines around the globe.

The new models will be women from various backgrounds, ages and sizes. They might be students, career women or stay at home mums. What matters is that they possess a unique personality and are not afraid to show it.

In this way, the readers will be able to identify with them, rather than be encouraged to strive for an unrealistic body size. On their website, “Brigitte” promises that these new models will nonetheless be paid a similar amount to that which the magazine would otherwise pay for professional models.

The Guardian featured the trend in Why big models are big fashion news, citing Hayley Morley, 21, a five foot nine, size 14  model, who has become big in fashion circles. Until now, her participation in the international fashion weeks of London, Paris and Milan was rare. But it doesn’t bother her. She says, “I’m very happy the way I am. I have never felt any pressure to change my size or lose weight for my job.”

Last month Morley was one of three “plus size models” – sizes 12 and 14 – at the show by knitwear designer Mark Fast for London Fashion Week. It caused a storm. The pictures of Morley in Mark Fast’s sexy cobweb dresses (above photo) made front-page news around the world.

She has become part of a sea change that has swept across the fashion industry in the past month. This is what they call in the trade “a moment”. For some of us, it feels like a cultural turning point, long overdue

“Glamour” has also started using “plus size”  models (sizes that are more average for women) in some of their photo shoots. although the magazine continues to work with skinny models. After receiving an enormous amount of positive feedback from their readers, they have decided to continue this practice.

Dove launched their Campaign for real beauty back in 2004. Its focus is to launch a debate about what real beauty entails, to allow more women — especially young girls — to feel beautiful and to increase self-esteem levels.

The “no model” campaign is yet another step in the right direction, because too many girls and women are suffering from low self-esteem and unrealistic body image expectations mainly due to the way women are portrayed in the media. Perhaps other magazines and fashion designers will soon join in this positive movement.


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